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Clé France

The French Property Network

Apr 18

How do I sell my property in France?


Lets bust some myths !

Vendors think that selling "privately" will secure them a buyer quicker, not true...

These days the "buyer" likes the security and protection of using an agent as well as the comfort of using a well known 'name'. Also 'private advertising' is expensive and which website should you choose? the cheapest is never a good option but the most expensive limits you to only one website! (NOTE: we advertise on multiple portals as well as our own website).

Vendors think their property will look more competitive without agency fees, not true...

We find that there is a "certain" section of the buying public that look privately, these are the people who want to drive the price down even further! People looking with Immobilier trust the advice of a good agent and then the negotiation on price is more even / level and the vendor often gets the best deal possible.

Vendors note: YOU are also cutting out approx. 95% of the UK and international overseas buying public who do not buy privately!

Magazine adverts are good, surely ?

Yes and No, as part of a 'brand advertising' package they work and as part of a on-line campaign BUT not really worthwhile for individual houses, think about it for a second, of all the thousands of properties for sale in France how successful is 1 private advert going to be? people these days want choice and a lot of it and this is why our 'targeted marketing' works well. 

Property Exhibitions have a targeted audience, true BUT...

We find that most people attending property exhibitions are at the start of their property hunting journey, this is good for them and good for the agent BUT not necessarily good for a seller, if you want to sell your property sooner rather than in 2 years time you need to think differently...

The Solution...

At Cle France we have several marketing options for sellers who want to maximise the exposure of their property, we advertise certain properties on multiple property portals for much less than the price it would cost you to advertise on just one! Simply mandating your property for sale with us is 100% free but we do offer enhanced marketing packages to those who want to get there property seen by a carefully targeted audience.

You may be selling your property in France to downsize, upgrade or move to the UK? whatever the reason "Cle France" is the place to be seen. We are the fastest growing property website featuring property for sale across France and have a successful formula for selling properties that others could not.

With a mixture of up to the minute technology, use of social media and good old fashioned customer service, we have helped as many people SELL their property as we have helped people buy their dream home.

After all, matching buyers to sellers is our goal ! visit our "selling ?" page to find out more and give us a call.

Take a look at some of the comments from sellers as well as buyers here....

Blog submitted by: David at The French Property Network - Cle France.

Add CommentViews: 2868
Oct 11

Do the French mind having British Neighbours?

Client's Question: Do the French mind having British neighbours?

This is a question which occurs to many people when they start to consider the prospect of a move to France, either to a second home or to a permanent residence. Especially given that in certain areas of France there are a good number of ex-pats, and a few years ago there were stories circulating in the press about them not being particularly welcome.

I lived in France for more than half of my life and for 12 years solid until 2012, and drawing from my personal experience and that of the enormous number of ex-pats I have met, I can say that I have only ever been made to feel welcome amongst my French neighbours. People in rural areas have a real sense of community, and are genuinely interested in the fact that you have chosen their corner of France to make your new home, in fact they take it as a compliment that you have chosen to do so.

Always make an effort to introduce yourself on arrival, and extend an invitation for ‘aperos’ so that you can get to know them. Don’t let your language skills (or lack of!) hold you back. Arm yourself with a dictionary, they will really appreciate your efforts to converse with them in their own language, and the hospitality you have offered. In no time at all you will be exchanging eggs and vegetables and fruit from the garden!

Always attend village events where possible. In each commune there are those who work tirelessly throughout the year to put on fêtes and soirées for the benefit of those living there. These are a great occasion to experience local life as well as an opportunity to meet others living nearby. You will be warmly received.

Blog submitted by: David at Cle France.

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Oct 10

Do Diagnostic reports cover structural aspects of a property?

Client's Question:    Although I understand that certain aspects of a property’s condition will be covered in the ‘diagnostique’ reports, such as the presence of lead and asbestos, will they also provide information on the structural condition of a property? 

Answer: The "diagnostiques" cover the following:



Gas and electrical installations


Energy efficiency

Natural Risks

Drainage System 

They will not therefore cover the structural condition of a property. Surveys are not carried out in France in the same way they are in the U.K, and the role does not exist in the buying process. If there is concern over a particular aspect of a house, say the roof or the external walls then the potential buyer consults a local artisan who is a specialist in the given area, so in the above case a roofer and a stone mason. They will then give their opinions as to any possible work that may be required and the cost of carrying that work out.

That said, there are a number of British surveyors operating in France, and you are of course free to appoint one should you wish to do so.

Blog submitted by: Alex at Cle France.


Add CommentViews: 2923
Oct 9

Going it alone with a Property search, is it worth it?

Sharon Evans looks at the pros and cons of buying French property privately as opposed to the more traditional route via an estate agent

In the UK, sales between private individuals, without the involvement of an estate agent, are not commonplace. True there are a number of websites nowadays enabling sellers to advertise their property direct to potential buyers, but the vast majority of us still use the services of an estate agent when buying or selling a property.

In France, however, private sales, usually referred to as ‘entre particuliers’, are common. They tend to be favoured by the more mature buyer, who perhaps has experience of buying and selling, and who therefore knows how things work and what to expect from the legal process.

The younger generation tends to favour buying through a local agent, as do those who are new to an area, where they are unsure of local property values. But for a well-informed buyer, the idea of potentially saving himself the cost of the agency fee is appealing.

Agency fees.

As you will no doubt have seen while browsing various internet portals, properties are offered either as an agency sale or a private sale, and so inevitably I am often asked by clients, what are the benefits and disadvantages of buying through an agent as opposed to buying direct from a private seller?

Agency commissions are usually included in the price of a property, which you will see in the agency window as ‘FAI’ (frais d’agence inclus), and a French agent is obliged to display his fee tariff in a prominent position in his office, so that the buyer is clear as to how much commission the agent will earn from the sale.

These vary according to the selling price and the individual agent, some starting as low as 3% going up to around 10% (the commission on a €30,000 property for instance will usually be a higher percentage of the selling price than that due on a €800,000 château). Typically on a €100,000 property, you might expect an agency fee in the region of €6,000-7,000.

That’s not an insignificant amount of money and in these straitened times, it’s easy to see why some buyers might feel it to be a saving well worth making. Generally, when UK buyers consider whether or not to buy privately, the issue of agency commission is uppermost in their minds. So it’s fair to say that when people ask me the question about whether to buy privately or through an agent, what they really want to know is what does the agent do for this commission, and how will it benefit me?

There is no question that for a UK-based buyer, perhaps with limited French and unfamiliar with how the French buying system operates, buying through an agent will provide that extra level of support, as they guide you through the sales process. A good agent will be able to keep you informed as to the progress of the sale, and when it comes to completion day they should accompany you to the notaire’s office for the signing of the acte de vente.

It is probably worth pointing out here that there are no hidden fees or charges for our service ie. buying through Clé France. The price you pay is the same as anyone walking through the door of the agency, and therefore the same as the price paid by the French buyer. Estate agents (Immobilier) and notaires in France are obliged by law to display there commission rates promenently in their office. We are able to offer you this service because our network of agents and notaires share there commission with us.

So when you buy through Clé France you can be confident that you are paying no more than the standard commission rates you would pay anyway, but you have the added benefit of a bi-lingual support team.

Little extras.

Once the sale is complete, they will arrange for the transfer of all utilities in your name, and will be able to help you with setting up bank accounts. These little extras are not an obligation on the part of an agent in France, but good ones perform these services as a matter of course, and importantly at no extra charge.

As you would expect, legal documentation will be in French, but agents who are used to dealing with English-speaking clients may well provide English versions of the first sales contract (compromis de vente). The notaire will usually conduct the sale and relative paperwork in French, but again, the agent may well translate for you on sale day, or provide a locally based translator to attend.

However, it should be noted that estate agents are not translators by profession, and at the critical contract stages of the process, it may be of benefit to hire a professional translator to assist.

Valuable contacts.

Many French agents are born and bred in the area in which they work, and their network of contacts will be truly invaluable. Your estate agent will probably be your first contact in France, and I believe potentially the most valuable.

He or she will be a mine of information, and throughout your dealings, a good agent will be able to advise on a whole range of matters that are not within their immediate remit, such as local tradespeople, issues around planning matters, and possibly even local schools and health.

These are clearly some of the practical benefits of buying through a good local agent. However, there is a further aspect to the private sale market in France that is worth a mention, and that is the matter of property valuation.

A French agent, who will be primarily selling properties for French owners to French buyers, will have a clear idea of the property market in their local area, and the correct valuation of any given property.

It is sometimes the case that owners who take the step of privately marketing their property do so as they don’t like the agent’s valuation, believing it to be too low. Indeed it is generally thought that privately advertised properties are some 20% more expensive than those listed by agents.

In my own company we are often approached directly by private sellers wishing to market their property on our site. I refer such enquiries to our local agent on the ground in France, who would then mandate the property for sale in the normal way, at which point it would come on to our site. Some time ago I was approached by a gentleman selling his home near Alencon. I suggested that he speak to my associate in the area who would do all the necessary, but when he knew who the agent was, he immediately rejected the idea, saying that he had no wish to do business with that particular individual.

Market values.

I was curious to say the least! My colleague is always very charming and an ardent Anglophile. I couldn’t imagine what he had done to cause such offence! It later transpired that the seller had already invited my colleague to mandate the property some six months previously. He had expressed his view that this was a very beautiful property, and that it should be marketed somewhere around the €230,000 mark. The seller wanted me to put it on our site at €500,000.

That is not to say that every private listing is overvalued. It is simply to say that if you are buying in a market that is unfamiliar, a good agent will be able to guide you as to the relative value of one property versus another, and importantly show you a number of different properties for comparison. He will also possibly be in a position to guide you as to the vendor’s position and attitude to negotiating.

As I said previously, buying privately is very commonplace in France, and UK buyers should absolutely have access to the same choice of available property as the French. I myself have bought and sold a few of my own properties privately in France in the past, without any problems.

British sellers who are accustomed to a more aggressive style of marketing in their own country sometimes find the French way of doing business a little frustrating, and if their language skills aren’t great, feel intimidated at approaching a local agent. So selling privately looks like a good option.

However, if as a seller you want to go down this route, don’t underestimate the cost of marketing, which can be considerable, especially if your property is on the market for any length of time.

For the buyer who has a good understanding of local market conditions and prices, buying privately can be an alternative. If a property is priced correctly, you could indeed save some money (and bear in mind for comparison that a privately advertised property should therefore be a little cheaper than its agency counterpart, to take account of the agency price including agency fees).

The other critical factor will be your language skills: are they of a sufficiently high level to read and correctly understand the process of buying and selling? If not, you will probably want to hire a translator for the documentation as well as for your liaison with the notaire.

There is a lot of information available nowadays, and some people feel sufficiently well researched to go through the process unaided.

Sharon Evans is director of Clé France

Tel: 01371 811799

Blog submitted by: Original article featured in Living France.

Add CommentViews: 5425
Oct 7

Insurance Cover question

Client's Question: At which point during the french property purchase does the purchaser's responsibility for building insurance start. Is it on exchange of contracts or completion?

You are required to have insurance in place on completion day, so this is something you should start organising once the compromis is signed, and the sale is going ahead. When you attend the notaire's office for the final signing she will require proof that the property is insured, so you should take your policy document with you on that day. It is common practice for the buyer to continue with the vendor's policy, but this is by no means obligatory, and you would be wise to shop around for the best deal before committing yourself.

There are a number of local insurance companies that can provide quotes, as well as local banks, and of course there are now a number of U.K based insurers who specialise in property abroad, so there is plenty of choice out there.

We work closely with an English speaking French insurance agent for all regions of France, and would highly recommend them for price and service, for further details just contact them via their Club Cle France page.

Cle France Healthcare Guide link

Blog submitted by: Sharon at Cle France.

Add CommentViews: 4664

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